Keeping Your Brand Promises: What Makes You Different?

Posted by Chuck Kocher
On February 3, 2014

Over the years companies have spent millions of dollars developing, honing, and protecting their brand. Sure, there has been lots of money spent on creating the right logo and on having the right tagline. But your brand is more than that. It’s your identity. It’s your reputation. It’s how customers think about you.

Put yourself in the shoes of your customer. When you’re considering buying a product or a service, you have an expectation of what that product or service will do for you. You also have an expectation of what the overall experience (the buying, the implementation, and the results) will be like. You make your purchase based on the benefit that the company promises. That’s a brand promise.

McDonald’s is a great example of a company that makes a clear brand promise—and delivers on it. You can walk into any McDonald’s restaurant in the world and you know exactly what you’re going to get: an inexpensive meal that is consistently prepared and served quickly in a clean environment. Now, not everybody likes McDonald’s, but they know exactly what they are going to get when they go there.

Do you recognize the “Golden Arches” logo? Sure. Are you familiar with their tagline? Probably. More important, however, is that you know what McDonald’s represents—and they meet those expectations. The fulfillment of that promise (or expectation) is McDonald’s brand.

Here’s something that may come as a bit of a shock to you. You don’t determine your brand. Your customers do. You may create your logo. You may come up with a great tagline that describes your business. You may even come up with an outstanding brand promise (a declaration of what your product or service will do for your customers). But unless you keep that promise—unless you deliver the results you claim you will—it doesn’t matter.

If you don’t deliver on your brand promise, you will never be known for that promise—regardless of how great your logo is or how clever your tagline is. What (and how) you deliver is how people will know you—and tell others about you.

So what is your brand promise? What is it that sets you apart from your competitors? What can you promise (and deliver) that nobody else can? Here are three questions you have to answer when you work on your brand promise.

1. What is the specific benefit? Is it compelling? Can you describe exactly how it will help your customer? This, of course requires that you know what your customers want.

2. Is your promise believable? Are you creating realistic expectations, or are you promising the impossible?

3. Are you going to keep your promise? You have to deliver—every time. It’s nice if people recognize your logo or are able to cite your tagline. But what really matters is if people know what you promise and know that they’ll get it from you every time.